What truck to buy for towing?

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James75

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Hello everyone!

This is my first post so I will just get to the point. I will also be reading through this part of the forum looking at some of the other threads for answers.

As I stated in my intro post, I have joined here to help my Dad along the way for his new venture in camping. I pulled a 22" lite TT with a 1500 silverado for years. I had 250,000 miles on that truck and it pulled just fine for me. My dad has purchased a used TT and is now looking at trucks. I want to help him make a good decision and buy the right truck. Please keep in mind that after he gets a feel for the TT, he could possibly look into a bigger one.

So just to keep this easy without too much to read through, what would you buy when it comes to buying a truck that pulls with ease.

I only have experience with chevy trucks so I am very limited on where we should start.

Right now we are focused on a 3/4ton 6 liter silverado. Should he be looking at a diesel?

Thank you for your help.   
 

Roy M

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Welcome aboard, grab a coffee and pull up a chair. There are a lot of unanswered questions. What is the trailer GVWR? Ignore dry weight, it is meaningless for our purposes.  Will he be towing in the mountains? Will he be doing a lot of traveling or just a few weekends throughout the year? Will the truck be a daily driver?
The truck should have a towing capacity of 25% more than the trailer gross weight to make the journey safe and enjoyable. Lots of people get by with less but don't forget that passengers and 'stuff' in the bed reduces it. As far as gas vs diesel it's a matter of choice. A gasser is cheaper up front along with the fuel (at least for the moment). Maintenance is cheaper but more frequent so that's a wash. If the truck is a daily driver he may be happier with gas.
If he wants to pull a heavy trailer in the Rockies diesel is king, torque rules here. Fuel costs more but fuel economy is much better and the engine doesn't scream climbing that 7% grade. Diesel trucks cost more up front but hold their value, good used ones fetch a premium. As far as brand goes, it's a matter of personal choice. I have an 05 Ram with the Cummins, it's not going away any time soon.
 

James75

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Indiana
Roy M said:
Welcome aboard, grab a coffee and pull up a chair. There are a lot of unanswered questions. What is the trailer GVWR?I will have to find out this weight Ignore dry weight, it is meaningless for our purposes.  Will he be towing in the mountains?Very little if none at all Will he be doing a lot of traveling or just a few weekends throughout the year?I am going to say about once a month. Not really sure of his plans. Will the truck be a daily driver?Yes
The truck should have a towing capacity of 25% more than the trailer gross weight to make the journey safe and enjoyable. Lots of people get by with less but don't forget that passengers and 'stuff' in the bed reduces it. As far as gas vs diesel it's a matter of choice. A gasser is cheaper up front along with the fuel (at least for the moment). Maintenance is cheaper but more frequent so that's a wash. If the truck is a daily driver he may be happier with gas.
If he wants to pull a heavy trailer in the Rockies diesel is king, torque rules here. Fuel costs more but fuel economy is much better and the engine doesn't scream climbing that 7% grade. Diesel trucks cost more up front but hold their value, good used ones fetch a premium. As far as brand goes, it's a matter of personal choice. I have an 05 Ram with the Cummins, it's not going away any time soon.

Roy I found this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwFLOBrADBs to watch and feel that it would help us in understanding these acronyms and numbers. I have never even dealt with this math before. I have a lot to learn. Thank you for the help and I will get back with you on the GVWR of the trailer. 
 

IBTripping

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James75 said:
One more question for tonight:

How do I figure the hitch/tongue weight?

Payload or cargo capacity of the tow vehicle (TV) is often the biggest limiting factor in what weight trailer the TV can safely and comfortably pull. There will be a yellow sticker on the driver side door that has the information that is needed to determine the size trailer that can be towed. Don't worry about doing the math yourself. Just post the info and one of the forum's math wizards will do the calculations for you.

As to your question about tongue weight, as a rule of thumb, it will be 10% to 13% of the gross (not dry) weight of the trailer. For instance, a 5,000 lb dry weight trailer might have a maximum gross weight of 6,500 lbs. So 10% of 6,500 would be a tongue weight of 650 lbs. However, once your dad gets a TV and trailer, they should be weighed to determine if the tongue weight, at a minimum, is 10% or he needs to readjust the cargo in the trailer.

Bottom line, post the yellow sticker info on each truck he is considering and we'll gladly do the trailer weight calculations. But, you'll catch on quickly. It's not rocket science.
 

IBTripping

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I decided to do another post. A lot of experienced RV owners believe it is more sensible to decide on or purchase the trailer you want before getting a tow vehicle. I agree, even though I got my TV before finding a travel trailer (TT). By getting the trailer first, you'll know for sure what towing and cargo capacity is required in a tow vehicle.

By getting my TV first, I was limited in the the size options of trailers. I was very lucky that I found a trailer that fits my TV and works well for me. If I ever decide to upgrade, I learned a valuable lesson and will be buying the travel trailer first. Then, I'll start looking for an appropriate size TV.
 

martin2340

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He should be safe with almost all 250-2500 3/4 ton trucks. As others have mentioned gas vs. diesel is preference and diesel is not absolutely necessary. Also you have not answered the questions about is the truck a daily driver, long trips away at a time, mountain trips out west. This all plays into gas vs. diesel.
Anyway I hope he can find a nice TV and has some happy times with the TT.
 

IBTripping

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James75 said:
Okay the trailer he bought has a GVWR of 9699lbs.

Thanks! I agree with martin2340 that a 3/4 ton should easily tow that weight TT.

Gas or diesel is an individual preference. The advantage of a diesel engine is it has a lot of low RPM pulling power. A gas engine pulls a load (up hill) at higher RPMs. However, the initial cost of a diesel is higher and the ongoing maintenance costs (e.g. oil changes) are higher than a gas engine. In addition, the cost of diesel fuel is higher, but a diesel tends to get better mpg. With modern engines, if well maintained, either diesel or gas will last well over 250,000 miles. Bottom line, either type engine will do the job.
 

James75

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@martin2340 on the 3rd post I tried to answer those questions by quoting it and then answering in red bold letters.

It will be a daily driver
Not sure if they plan on Mountain trips but being prepared would be a plus.
 

James75

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I assume a 3/4 ton does not allow much more capacity past a 9700lb trailer(GVWR)?

If he bought a heavier trailer, then would a dually be the next option to look at. What I mean is if they like Rving I could see them wanting a bigger model. What?s your thoughts here. Is there room to grow with the 3/4 ton or should a dually be in our planning.

So dry weight is 6060lbs. This means that there is room for over 3500lbs of cargo???

 

IBTripping

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Let me share with you a couple of statements you'll see often in this forum. First, it is better to have more truck than you need than less truck. Plus, with a larger TV than you need, if (when?) you decide to upgrade the trailer, you won't need to upgrade your TV. Second, the cost of a 1 ton (3500) isn't much more that the cost of a 3/4 ton (2500). So why not get the 1 ton?
 

donn

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Tongue weight for any TT is gointo be between 12 and 15 percent of the trailers loaded ready to travel weight.  Since you dont have that use 15% of the trailers GVWR  that will give you a good baseline.
Truck?  Golly thats a big can of worms asking that.    GM has been behind for years.  Fords are expensive.  Rams have arguably the best interior and usually offer great prices.  Trudk brand of choice as I see it is a regional thing.  Some places like Texas all you see is Chevy.  Out here in the far west, Rams hold it by a wide margin.  I would suggest he go test drive all of them and pick the one his wife likes best, and he can anctually get a deal on.  Size?  The price difference between 2500 and 3500 is only a few hundred dollars, but with the 3500 you will gain a lot of weight capacity if he chooses to go to a heavier trailer or possibly a fifth wheel.
 

grashley

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Welcome to the Forum!

Thanks for the TT weights.  FOR THIS TT, the hitch wt should be between 1000# and 1300#. (10% - 13% of GVWR)  The next one will likely be more.

Which truck?  Drive all three and get the one the wife likes best!  ;D

Gas or diesel?  If this is a daily driver with no mountain trips planned, gas may be the better choice.  I have a diesel, but it is almost exclusively for towing the FW.  Diesels like long trips, with time to get fully warmed up and just run.  They do not like short trips or lots of starts and stops.
My 2L Miata can start heating the car in less than a mile and be fully warmed up in 3 miles.  My 6.7L diesel truck may take 8 miles to start heating the cab and 20 miles or more to really get warmed up.

If looking new, a 3500 SRW costs about $1200 more than an identical 2500.  Used prices are closer.  Dimensions, trims and options on the two are virtually identical and the same price.  The 3500 SRW will add over 1200# in added Payload.  The 2500 is very limited in the size of FW it can tow.  The 3500 SRW can handle moderate size FW.  The next step is obviously a 3500 dually.

Keep asking questions!
 

James75

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Ok I got on Gm's page and found GCWR for both 2500 and 3500. I tried to post the copies of the PDF file showing them but cannot figure it out.

2500 4x4 crew cab shows= Max trailer weight(13,000lbs) GCWR(21,100lbs) Max tongue weight(1,500lbs)

3500 4x4 crew cab shows= all the numbers are the exact same


I am not following how the 3500 has more capacity by these numbers. "edit: Ok I see the cargo of the bed can haul more weight" Right?
 

grashley

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Go to the site, highlight the www, gm\ blabla line, then copy.
Add to the thread and paste this information.

I understand your question.  It is confusing.  I would like to see the page, too.

I am sure the Payload numbers will be different.  That is the cargo in the bed.  My initial thought is the receiver may be limited to 1500#, but they usually use a 10% hitch wt, so by that, it could handle a 15,000# tow.  Even so, the 3500 should have a bigger GVWR, so if they are limited to the same weight trailer, the GCWR should be larger on the 3500.  Sometimes, the folks who prepare these charts appear very bad at math! ;D  ::)
 

James75

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Indiana
I will try to get those copied here tomorrow grashley.

Thank you all for your help so far. I swear I am not a moron, but this process sure makes you feel like one.

Just trying to help my dad travel safe.

What is the go to name in weight dist. hitch?s?
 

IBTripping

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James75 said:
Thank you all for your help so far. I swear I am not a moron, but this process sure makes you feel like one.

What is the go to name in weight dist. hitch?s?

No you are NOT a moron. This towing stuff is complicated at first. Thought my brain would explode the first time I tried doing the math.

Let me warn you. Asking about weight distribution hitchs (WDH) is like asking what motor oil to use. Some swear by the one of the most expensive WDHs you can buy. In my opinion, you should only get a WDH that also has an anti-sway system. Some are easier to set up than others. I also suggest you get one that allows you to back up without disconnecting parts of the hitch. Here's what I suggest. When your dad has the TT and TV, call the knowledgeable staff at etrailer.com. Give them specifics on the TT and TV and see what options they suggest. My experience with them is that they don't try to up sell you when a less expensive option will do the job.
 

kdbgoat

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Which hitch? That can be difficult. I used to use a Reese Strait Line the dual cam one. Worked great. Expensive and a pain in the butt to set up . A guy that works for me has an E2 by Fsatway and loves it. Eqal-I-Zer is good. Like stated above, get one with built in sway arresting capability. I'm not a big fan of the add on friction devices, but a lot of people use them with good results. Keep the tongue weight over 10% and 12% would be better, to avoid sway.
 
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